Since 1895, When the Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT) was born, the trade union movement in France has experienced a turbulent century of development that has had an enormous impact on French polity, society and economy. During this time, the French labour movement has occupied a unique and crucial place in the European working class movement. In February 1996, Colombia University and New York University marked the centennial of the French labour movement by jointly sponsoring a conference to reflect on the history of this movement and on the future prospects for trade unionism in France. This book presents a collection of papers presented at that conference, written by distinguished historians and social scientists from both France and the United States, as well as by important French trade union leaders. Offering an interdisciplinary approach, this volume examines the trajectory of the French labour movement and provides lessons for students of contemporary France, western European politics and society, and comparative labour movements.
HERRICK CHAPMAN is Professor in the Institute of French Studies at New York University. He is the author of State Capitalism and Working Class Radicalism in the French Aircraft Industry (University of California Press, 1991) and (with Peter N. Stearns) of European Society and Upheaval: Social History Since 1750, 3rd edition (Macmillan, 1991). He is also editor (with Reid George Andrews) of The Social Construction of Democracy, 1870-1990 (New York University Press, 1995). - MARK KESSELMAN is Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. He is the editor (with Guy Groux) of The French Workers' Movement: Economic Crisis and Political Change (George Allen and Unwin, 1984). He has written many articles on French Labor, political parties, local politics, and public policy. His most recent article on French labor is Where it Stops, Nobody Knows: The Troubled Trajectory of the French Labor Movement in John T.S. Keeler and Martin A. Schain eds.; Chirac's Challenge: Liberalization, Europeanization and Malaise in France (SMP, 1996). - MARTIN A. SCHAIN is Professor of Politics and Chair of the Center for European Studies at New York University. He is the author (with Henry Ehrmann) of Politics in France (Harper Collins, 1992) and editor and author (with John Keller) of Chirac's Challenge: Liberalization, Europeanization and Malaise in France. He has written many articles on the French labor movement, as well as on the politics of immigration and the rise of the National Front in France.